Martinelli’s Minutes Are Not a Problem
Fans are wondering why Martinelli is not playing more these days. They miss the Brazilian’s speed, effort and drive on the flanks and in the middle. He is an exciting young talent with everything to become a complete inside-forward or striker.
However, football is not so straightforward. Some will point to Saka’s minutes as an example of what regular football can do to a youngster’s game. They forget that Saka is not just a technical phenomenon and is already battling Premier League defenders physically with much success. Saka is also more versatile, capable of slotting into so many roles. Martinelli on the other hand has only two positions he can play at a good level and two of those positions are being contested by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette. It is difficult as it is to not play the captain or a 72 million euro acquisition.
That is even going too far. Martinelli is a teenager just coming off a 10 month injury layoff. He was rushed back to play 45 minutes against Manchester City in the league cup and promptly walked off with a limp. His style of play is really exhausting. He runs everywhere and all the time. If his load is not carefully managed, another bad injury will permanently affect his game and Arsenal will lose some of his most promising qualities. That will be disastrous for such a brilliant young lad. It is very much better to be safe than sorry with Martinelli. He is not physically matured yet but he moves about like the Brazilian Ronaldo. Unless we want a similar repeat of that, we must be very patient with him.
He just returned back to full training in January and has sustained another small injury. This is not the time of the season to start trying to get a 19-year-old match fit in record time when you have an abundance of other options. It is not unusual if a player takes a month to fully recover fitness and sharpness after such a long layoff, especially a teenager.
Mikel Arteta sees him as a big talent, don’t worry. The lad plays like a dream for how Arteta wants to play. He hasn’t even played bad upon his return. The coach is just being careful with his Brazilian jewel, as he should be. Martinelli is not Saka. He will play at the right time.